Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Alan Green: Old Firm hatred deserves our contempt

Neil Lennon gestures towards the Rangers fans at Ibrox

The only time I commentate on Celtic or Rangers is if either team draws an English club in the Champions League.

It must be close to 20 years since I attended an Old Firm game. I distinctly remember my, admittedly, sarcastic comment as I took over the microphone midway through the first half: “And when does the ‘football’ start?”

I viewed and felt the hatred of those clashes with contempt. Hadn’t we, in Northern Ireland, suffered enough damage caused by taking religious and political beliefs to extremes? I shuddered at the thought it might even be worse in Glasgow.

So I don’t care about any perceptions made of Neil Lennon: of what he believes in or which flag he shows allegiance to. What happened to the Celtic manager last week is beyond the pale and I trust the overwhelming majority of Rangers supporters feel the same as us neutrals do.

And, you know, I couldn’t have cared less who took the points at Ibrox on Sunday.

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